Poor Man’s Guide: Website and Internet Advertising on a Budget (Part 3 of 3)
Promoting and Updating Your Small Business Website
I get it as a small business owner, you’re busy. There’s a million things to worry about, and if you’re like me, most of the things that suck up your time have nothing to do with why you started your business in the first place. Small business owners are pulled in several directions everyday, and rarely do they get what they planned done during the normal work day. I, myself am writing this on a Friday evening between dinner and kids showers because I myself didn’t get this done during my normal workday.
Remember you started your business because you are passionate – and – YOU ARE DIFFERENT
I’ve been helping small business owners advertise themselves for almost 15 years, and with only a few exceptions of the thousands of business owners I’ve met, all of them have something that makes them different from who they perceive as their competitors. Typically when I would ask these business owners what made them different, I’d get the same canned answers: we provide the best service, we provide quality work, we provide the best guarantee…and on and on from there. It wasn’t until we were able to really dig in deep with these clients did they actually really think about what made them different, and sometimes it takes someone from the outside to point it out.
I’ll give you an example. I met with a plumbing contractor that had been in business for many, many years. It’s probably a third generation business, one of the oldest plumbing companies in their market. I asked the owner what made their business different from other plumbing companies their size in the area, and got the same old canned answers, the same I’ve heard many times before: they’re the best at what they do, they guarantee their work, they’ve been in business for years, etc.
It was only after much questioning about their services and what they offer was I really able to help the business owner understand what made them different, why someone should choose them over their competition, and for this business owner, the realization of what they offer compared to almost any other plumbing company has most certainly set them apart when it comes to their digital marketing, and here’s what really makes them different:
- They only employ licensed Journeyman Plumbers
- All of their plumbers are Union
- They provide flat rate pricing on all service plumbing work
- They’re heavily involved in the community, and give back to it
To this business owner these simple facts seemed just normal day-to-day business, but when it comes to marketing your business, facts like this are gold mines. Prior to City Ranked Media taking over this clients website, they had been marketing themselves as just the plumbing company that had been around for a long time. They were in essence just another plumbing company, unless for some reason you as a consumer came to their website and really cared that they had been in business long before your parents were born.
Marketing the difference in your business
Every business owner understands what makes their business different, I think that sometimes they just need to be reminded. For first generation businesses I think this is a much easier exercise because you as the business owner know what made you decide you could do better job. For second, third and more generation owners, this sometimes might be a bit tougher. In either case understanding and marketing what you do best can, and will make all the difference in the world.
For businesses – differentiation is everything
With the above business, understanding the above about their business changed everything. Marketing and SEO’ing their website for terms surrounding Journeymen Plumbers, the Union, and other related terms opened them up to General Contractors outside the state looking for these exact qualifications. It also allowed them to command a premium for their services understanding that every plumber on staff was a trained professional. Rankings, phone calls, and as a result, business has increased, big.
So do you know and really understand what makes your business different, and better?
Understanding your passion, and turning it into new business
Once you understand what makes your business different, it’s time to turn that knowledge into new business. You’re an expert in your business, and how your business is done. You’ve refined your trade or skill, many times over years, so you have knowledge on what people want, the questions they have, and most importantly the answers to those questions.
People want to know your knowledge. You get asked the same questions by your customers, so take this opportunity to answer those questions in a informative and helpful way through your website. Don’t try and sell your business at this stage, think about yourself being a resource, and answer these questions. Use phrases that people will search, for example if you’re a Plumber, and you do home plumbing repipes, answer some of your most asked questions regarding this service, i.e.: What’s the difference between PEX piping and Copper piping, and which is best? Make these articles super informative, and make them helpful for the average Joe homeowner.
Don’t sell yourself at this point. Remember you’re targeting people searching for information, not someone searching for a business to help them with their problem. You’re targeting people with questions on the best or correct way to solve their problem(s). Once the visitor understands that, they will then start searching for someone to fill that need. Getting them to your website is 50% of the battle, showing them you’re the best expert for their problem is a short gap to jump from there.
If you can bridge this gap from turning people searching for answers, into people exposed to how your business can help them, you will win some of them over. Now I know what some of you are saying, because I’ve had many of our clients tell me the same thing: why would I tell someone how to do something themselves, or why would I share my knowledge without these people paying for it? The answer is simple, with the advancements in information sharing via the internet, social media, etc., the answers to their questions are already out there, so wouldn’t you want these people to come to your website for these answers? Sure, will some people come to your website for answers and leave? Yes, but some will also engage you for your professional advice and services, these are the people that you’re seeking.
Share your information on social media
If you can do the above, and do it often, you will be successful. It won’t happen overnight, it won’t happen in a month, but if you can religiously add new content, at least twice a month, it’s almost guaranteed (as of the writing of this article) that you’ll be in a much better position than 80% of your competitors.
The exercise I’ve described above is nothing more than blogging. People are searching for the answers you have, it’s up to you to turn those people into customers.